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Paint a Room! (Or Fun Things to Do When You're Sober)

Updated on December 20, 2015

Don't Use These Guys To Paint Your Kitchen!

Paint Problems

It wasn't too long ago I got a call from one of my young upwardly-mobile clients. He had just bought his first house and wanted me to bid on some miscellaneous repairs. One of these involved painting all the trim work. I asked him about painting the walls and he excitedly proclaimed "Don't worry about the walls... I'm having a Paint Party Saturday!”

“A paint party?" I asked.

"Yeah, all my bros are coming over and we're going to paint the walls before you get here. I figure on saving some money that way," he said smartly and then added, "I'm supplying the free beer!"

Why did the words "food fight" come to my mind?

Needless to say when I arrived at the scene he commissioned me to include painting the walls, ceilings and cabinets along with the trim... and to include the cost of cleaning the floors!

10 Common Paint Problems and Their Solutions

Contrary to what most people think...there is a certain amount of skill involved in painting. Professional painters have been trained or have worked out solutions to common painting problems. This article is meant to help the DIY (Do it yourself) homeowner who has little or no experience. These are the most common painting issues and the solutions I have worked out through trial and error.

Here are some commonly asked questions about interior painting and their answers...

Should I paint the ceilings the same color as the walls?

Everyone has an opinion on this question. Most upscale design-conscious people will paint the ceilings in a complimentary color to the walls. The most common method is to go with a paint labeled "ceiling paint". Ceiling paints have small amounts of added colors for a "glowing effect".

If you choose to compliment the walls with another color, be careful. Cold colors generally do not go with warm colors. Home Depot, Lowe's, Sherwyn Williams, and other stores generally have color combination brochures to guide you when making color combinations.

There is nothing wrong with painting the ceilings the same color. The cost is a bit higher when you add the separate ceiling paint.

What color should I paint the trim and woodwork?

If you have nice detailed trim and woodwork then consider painting them a different color than the walls. If your trim is plain or damaged then you could paint it the same color. This will take attention away from the trim. For color combinations a good idea is to check out paint store brochures.

What sheens, where?

Most people paint their walls and ceilings flat. Flat will help hide imperfections in the surface. If you buy a quality flat paint you can lightly clean areas that dirty up easily. There is a current trend to paint walls in an egg-shell finish. This sheen is less shiny than satin. It's a good look but I’ve occasionally seen some brands of egg-shell that are difficult to blend to a smooth finish.

Generally the higher the sheen the easier it is to clean. The trade off is it shows the imperfections in the wall more.Trims usually are painted in a semi-gloss or gloss finish.

Finish rolling over area with a light diagonal technique
Finish rolling over area with a light diagonal technique

Should I roll on the paint straight up and down?

No. To ensure a smooth finish you should roll on the paint first up and down completely to an area about 4 feet by 4 feet. Then diagonally cross over the same area lightly. Many times I got away with one coat by using this technique.

Should I cut in first or roll the walls first?

Whichever way works for you is good. I usually cut in first on the walls because if the new color is close to the old color you may get away with one cut in coat but you might have to add in a second coat. If you cut in first the paint will be dry enough to apply a second cut in coat. Roll close to the edge slowly...then fill in the rest with a roller.

Kilz Primer Paint

Photo by Kerry Allen
Photo by Kerry Allen

Why do stains keep bleeding through no matter how many times I paint?

Some stains will keep returning after you paint over them several times. These are tars and possibly grease or some other insidious ingredient which may have formed from a previous water leak. It could also be simply an area not pre-cleaned enough before it was painted. The solution is to use a spray or paint-on product called a stain-blocker primer paint (Kilz is a good one). Sometimes a water-based stain-blocker will not work. The solution is to always use a non-water based stain killing primer paint. Kilz Complete is a good one.

Trim paint separates or coagulates funny while I'm painting

Sand the surface and clean thoroughly. You probably have grease or some kind of oil on the surface. If you don't sand and clean your new trim paint may not adhere properly. Many times wiping the wood with just a damp cloth will do just fine.

There's gunky grease all over the walls and trim in my kitchen ...

Most professionals will use TSP (tri-sodium-phosphate). It's a cleaning solution that cuts the muck so you can paint. Washing walls can be very difficult and messy...I've found you can just prime paint over the mess...I think it's easier. You could do the same over cigarette tar stain.

A Job Well Done

Now that you are informed of any unforeseen paint problems or procedures, go ahead and paint that room with confidence. Then sit back and enjoy the new look you created with your own hands. It will lift your spirits and give you a fine sense of accomplishment.

Oh, by the way, I recommend you keep all your paint parties beer free!


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    • joeyallen profile imageAUTHOR

      Kerry Allen 

      19 months ago from SE Texas

      Thanks again for the kind words. Whenever I think of painting I'm reminded of the young college guys who had the "(paint party)! I use painting as a kind of therapy where I can hash out all that is going on. I used to use Sherwin Williams exclusively until I found out Home Depot's Behr Paint is just as good and costs around 30% less! Good talking with you. Keep writing!

    • jo miller profile image

      Jo Miller 

      20 months ago from Tennessee

      Good article on painting with lots of useful tips. I've done a lot of painting through the years because it's cheaper than hiring someone. We painted all of our house when we contracted it several years ago. Now I've begun to repaint the rooms. One of the things I've learned is that it pays to buy really good paint to start with.

    • joeyallen profile imageAUTHOR

      Kerry Allen 

      4 years ago from SE Texas

      Please comment and tell me some of your painting issues. I'll respond here to help get you through it!


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